Discuss as:

Morsi leaves presidential palace in Cairo amid protests

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Anti-Morsi protesters shout slogans during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4, 2012.

Maya Alleruzzo / AP

An Egyptian woman holds a national flag as she listens to speakers, not pictured, in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Dec. 4.

Reuters reports — Egyptian police battled thousands of protesters outside President Mohamed Morsi's palace in Cairo on Tuesday, prompting the Islamist leader to leave the building, presidency sources said.

Officers fired teargas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Morsi's drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution on December 15. Some broke through police lines around his palace and protested next to the perimeter wall.

The crowds had gathered nearby in what organizers had dubbed "last warning" protests against Morsi, who infuriated opponents with a November 22 decree that expanded his powers. "The people want the downfall of the regime," the demonstrators chanted.

"The president left the palace," a presidential source, who declined to be named, told Reuters. A security source at the presidency also said the president had departed. Full story…

Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

A protester carries a shield belonging to a riot police member who ran away as protesters clash briefly with riot police during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4

Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

A woman stands near barbed wire in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

An anti-Morsi protester sprays paint reading "Control by Revolution" on a riot police vehicle during clashes in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4.

Maya Alleruzzo / AP

Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square as protesters gather in Cairo, Dec. 4.

Sign up for the NBCNews.com Photos Newsletter

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi reportedly left the palace via the back door to avoid further confrontation, as crowds vented their fury at Morsi's decree granting him nearly unlimited powers. NBC's Brian Williams reports.